Amy Biviano is running for state representative in the Spokane area. Just weeks before the election, the attention on the race has turned from the issues to a photo of Biviano in 1995. Back in 1995, Biviano was featured in Playboy’s “Women of the Ivy League.” At the time, Biviano was attending Yale.
The photo was released by The Western Center for Journalism, which criticized Biviano as a hypocrite for presenting an image “as a devoted wife and mother of two sons” and Sunday school teacher.
Biviano explained why it happened to The Spokesman Review:
In an interview Friday, following a conservative website’s disclosure that Biviano appeared in a “Women of the Ivy League” edition, Biviano said she doesn’t regret the photo shoot but wouldn’t do it again as a mother.
“It was one of the youthful college kinds of things. I was interested in pushing my limits,” Biviano said in an interview Friday. “This was my small act of rebellion.”
Biviano’s opponent, Matt Shea, expressed that he was saddened by the release of the photos that he claims to have known about for months. Yet in his comments from his website, Shea disingenuously condemns the photos while referring to the “pornography” as “alarming.”
I am saddened by the release by a national media outlet of my opponent’s involvement in pornography. I strongly condemn the release of this information. Our campaign was aware of this information several months ago, and made a very determined decision to not use or disperse this information in any way, shape, or form. I specifically instructed the few members of my campaign team who knew of this situation to not disseminate this information, engage in negative, personal attack campaigning, even though my opponent had already done so. This type of negative campaigning is exactly what is wrong with politics today. While these revelations are indeed alarming, my heart goes out to Amy and her family. My wife Viktoriya and I will continue to pray for her.
Yeh, I bet Shea is saddened. His comments are laddened with code words of disaproval while he tries to appear sympathetic to Biviano’s predicament.
Former state Rep. George Orr put the matter into perspective, noting that Shea faces misdemeanor gun charges. Shea pulled a gun during an altercation with another motorist last year. The incident was described as road rage.
“What’s worse, a woman going topless 15 or 20 years ago, or a guy pulling a gun on somebody? How can the Grand Old Party get upset about that when their rock-star senator from Massachusetts was a centerfold?” Orr said.
Orr is completely correct. Pulling a gun on someone a year ago is far more relevant than a nude shot nearly 20 years ago as a college student.
That reference to a “rock-star senator from Massachusetts” is directed at Scott Brown. Brown posed nude for the June 1982 issue of Cosmopolitan.
The photo of Brown stirred some interest in his 2010 campaign, but it did not hamper his election. Brown’s photo was more of a curiosity. He lost few, if any votes, over it.
Neither Biviano nor Brown are running from their revealing photos. They have not tried to hide it nor should they. Both magazine profiles are from many years ago. In the election of 2012, neither should matter. Yet how these two photos have garnered attention tells a lot about American society.
Brown’s photo is far more revealing than Biviano’s, but Biviano’s is partly blacked out. Obviously, Playboy didn’t black out the nipples, but the photo being circulated now has that.
Saudi Arabian culture forces women to cover themselves so that men do not lose control of their carnal desires and lust after women. That is the reason used, but that is only an excuse for suppressing women. It keeps them away from contact with strangers, confines them to their homes and enslaves them to the whims of a husband or male family member.
Western societies, particularly American society, should look at its own peculiarities too. In our own way, we have a bit of the Saudi thinking too.
It is perfectly fine for a man like Brown to show his entire bare chest. However, when a woman does it, her nipples must be covered. Yet Brown has nipples too, and they are in full view. The difference between Brown and Biviano are her mammary glands, but those aren’t covered. The Saudi’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice would be pleased that we keep our morality firmly inline with our sexism. After all, showing Biviano’s nipples would make the photo outright pornography and men might lose control of their inhibitions. For this, Biviano is a hypocrite or even a slut, but Brown — well, he’s just one of the boys, and it’s all good fun.
Are we that different from the Saudis? They impose a repression that is unimaginable to Americans, such as preventing women from driving. Yet they forbid men from seeing the female body features that they see on males (faces, hands, feet, etc.) It isn’t that much different when a woman’s chest is considered racy, but a man’s is ho-hum and there’s nothing to see here, move along, citizen.
I have yet to find anyone to give an explanation that justifies those double standards. Add in that Biviano is being called a “hypocrite” for what she calls “my small act of rebellion,” while Brown is considered a “rock-star senator.”
Invariably, this will hurt Biviano’s campaign. While it is true that there is hypocrisy here, it is not Biviano who is guilty of it.